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UNM’s Challenge Course brings the community together

The University of New Mexico offers a multitude of resources for its students, faculty and alumni. One resource is based on growing a foundation to the skills taught at UNM: teamwork. UNM’s Outdoor Activities Center is located outside Johnson Center and is a part of the University’s Recreational Services. The OAC has a program called the Challenge Course and Leadership Development initiative which consists of the Challenge Course.


New Mexico Law protects reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare

In February, a bill protecting reproductive and gender-affirming health care was signed into law in New Mexico. The Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Act protects patients seeking reproductive and gender-affirming health care in every part of New Mexico, according to Representative Linda Serrato (D) – a sponsor of the House Bill. “This is especially important in rural communities that have historically lacked access to care,” Serrato said.  Frankie Flores, Education Specialist of the LGBTQ Resource Center, said that greater access to gender-affirming health care will further protect New Mexico’s trans and non-binary community.   

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Joy in resistance against The Fourth

Local Albuquerque community found joy in resistance at Mesa Verde Park – gathered to eat, provide resources and build connections on the Fourth of July in protest of the holiday. In 2022, 1.2 million people were incarcerated in the United States, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Based on a survey, the ACLU administered about 24,000 incarcerated people – 76% reported being forced to work or facing punishment. Selinda Guerrero, a local organizer, spoke about the event's intent to resist state exploitation in prison systems and by police on the Fourth of July – the nation's Independence Day, a celebration of freedom and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.


Curanderismo course at UNM dives into the culture of traditional healing

During the summer, the University of New Mexico offers a two week in-person class called “Curanderismo: The Art of Mexican Folk Healing” to allow students to connect more closely with cultural and spiritual healing.  The class takes a holistic approach to healing, Eliseo Torres said — the professor of the course. The class has many guest speakers from all over, including Mexico and Peru. Some of those guests are curanderas who specialize in the traditional healing methods of Curanderismo.  One such curandera is Tonita Gonzales who has worked with the class for many years and sees it as an opportunity to give students a perspective on medicine and healing in other cultures outside western medicine.

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Local News Fund creates opportunities for young journalists

The New Mexico Local News Fellowship and Internship Program has expanded its opportunities for aspiring journalists. The program was created to support journalism students and graduates from New Mexico public universities since 2019, according to the department of workforce solutions who partnered with the News Fund press release. With 125,000 in-state funding approved this past pay, the program will be able to double the amount of participants they have. The program is operated by the University of New Mexico’s Communication & Journalism Department where the program recruits, selects and matches journalism students to local newsrooms, according to the The Local News Fellowship and Internship website. 

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New Mexican high schoolers see Broadway shows at Popejoy

Having performed on local stages herself, the goal of newly appointed Popejoy Hall Director, Fabianna Broghese, is to give local teens an opportunity to see Broadway shows. Popejoy Hall’s Development Director and head of “Broadway for Teens”, Maryellen Missik-Tow, said that the program is a philanthropic effort. The previous year was the program’s first. This past May, it sponsored 80 students and 10 teachers to see Hamilton, Missik-Tow said.


Protesters fight for nurses’ work safety at UNM Hospital

   Early Thursday morning, members of the Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees joined together outside the University of New Mexico Hospital to protest what they said are unsafe working conditions. Protesters were there in demand of safe staffing, safe working conditions and fair wages. Many nurses joined the group in their scrubs while getting off their shift or on break, at 6:30 A.M. A coalition of campus unions were there in support of nurses, including resident physician William Wylie. He works with nurses everyday and said that they are crucial to the hospital. “They're our eyes, ears and hands. They’re with the patients most of the time,” Wylie said.


New students find the importance of connections at NSO

 First-year students at the University of New Mexico embark on New Student Orientation. In a two-day event that occurs every week this summer, students will register for classes, explore and spend the night on campus. NSO is organized by Director of Student Services, José Villar, who has run the program since 2019. Of the new students coming to UNM, Villar said about 18% - 20% are from out-of-state. “We have 11 orientations throughout the summer (with) about 350 (students) per orientation,” Villar said. NSO is available both in-person and virtually. The virtual option, “NSO-To Go,” is for students who are unable to attend the in-person event. There is a $200 orientation fee for those who attend in-person and a $110 fee for virtual participants, according to the NSO webpage.

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Creative industry receives support from the capital

  The founder, co-owner and director of local dance studio, VIIIZON Academy, Trey Pickett, said he would have benefited from funding in the creative industries. The Creative Industries Bill provides funding to people with creative occupations and will go into effect July 1. When Pickett was young, he was inspired by the artistic abilities of artists like Michael Jackson and Prince. He said he loved to see how people moved creatively and it became his vision to dance, have a studio and work in the creative industry. So he said he began to work at studios throughout Albuquerque. By collaborating with others, he said he wasn’t able to live his vision. “It was tied up in other people's opinions and narratives,” Pickett said, so he decided to create his own studio, but found that funding was hard to come by. 

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Summerfest, gives platform to local artists and businesses

  The City of Albuquerque kicked off its annual concert series, the Albuquerque Summerfest, Saturday, June 10 at North Domingo Baca Park where a crowd of community members gathered for a free event featuring local musicians, businesses and food. The event was the first of three that will take place this summer throughout the Albuquerque Metro area. Ryan Romero and Miguel Otero are members of “St. Levi and the Family Tree” – a local alternative soul duo that recently released an EP entitled “Sacramental.” The event also featured 3 other musical groups.

City Pounds seek fosters for dogs and cats

Shelter animals in Albuquerque in need of foster care

  The Animal Welfare Department is looking for people in Albuquerque who are willing to foster shelter animals. The Animal Welfare Department is reaching out to the public because their typical foster resources have already been used due to the number of animals being surrendered, according to Valerie Greif, a foster team member. A foster parent takes in different animals and provides them with care and a place to stay to make more vacancies in the shelter. The fostering process can look different based on animal needs, according to Tara Mansker, foster team member.

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Lots of parks, little maintenance

Albuquerque parks ranked 23 by the Trust for Public Land, 11 places higher than the prior year. Albuquerque scored a 61.1 out of 100 due to the number and size of the parks, according to The Trust for Public Land, rather than the maintenance of them.  The Trust for Public Land is an organization that works to create parks and protect land. They have been ranking parks for over a decade.

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ABQ Biopark loses another animal

The Albuquerque BioPark announced that their 26 year-old polar bear named Koluk passed via euthanasia on May 26. The zoo's decision to put down the large animal was due to Koluk’s rapid health decline, the park stated. In 2022, KOAT reported that seven animals at the BioPark had died in the past few years, including multiple primates that passed due to a shigella bacteria. Koluk is not the first animal to be euthanized at the zoo. One euthanization case dates back to 2010 when a Giraffe was euthanized, dismembered and tossed in a trash bin at the park. Training was a repercussion, but no one was immediately or expected to be fired, according to the Albuquerque Journal

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UNM takes initiative to address basic needs of students, faculty and staff

Earlier this semester, the University of New Mexico’s Basic Needs Project — in collaboration with the New Mexico Higher Education Department — sent out a survey to 27 universities and colleges statewide to collect data on the basic needs of students, faculty and staff. On May 5, the data collected was presented in the Student Union Building. This event included an appearance made by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in support of the work done.

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UNM offers Intro to Asian American Studies

This upcoming semester, all undergraduate students have the opportunity to take Intro to Asian American Studies — a class that is being offered for the second time. Shinsuke Eguchi, a professor in the communication department, will teach the class this fall. The course is about “understanding the historical, political, and economic context in which Asian Americans are racialized,” they said. 

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UNM faculty, staff bring attention to lack of capacity in Legislature

The New Mexico State Legislature is currently the only U.S. state legislature to not pay its representatives. It has one of the shortest session lengths and smallest staffs. To modernize the Legislature could mean increasing all of the above, according to a Bureau of Business and Economic Research study. Last fall, Rose Elizabeth Rohrer, a researcher with BBER at UNM, interviewed 24 of the 112 state representatives and received surveys from 44.4% of the staff to hear their thoughts on the status of the Legislature. Of the responses, many said they would benefit from at least one half-time, individually assigned staffer, and at most two full-time staffers. 82.9% said they should be paid, and that the current per diem and travel compensation does not cover the costs of the job. 80.7% said that there was not enough time in the session to dedicate the amount of time to legislation that it deserves.


UNM partners with NOVA to support sexual assault victims

  The National Organization for Victim Assistance is preparing to launch the Youth Advocacy Corps pilot program in partnership with five colleges, including the University of New Mexico.  The Youth Advocacy Corps program intends to aid marginalized youth in victim advocacy by providing student fellows with training, mentorship and a paid field placement in a local victim service organization, according to NOVA.  On Monday, April 24, the University hosted a town hall where the program was introduced and panelists shared their experiences as sexual violence survivors. Abrianna Morales, a panelist and UNM student, is a NOVA youth program manager and looks forward to the impact the upcoming program will have on campus.

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UNM libraries evacuated due to anonymous threat

 On Sunday, April 16, the University of New Mexico library buildings on central campus were evacuated as a result of an anonymous threat which turned out to be a hoax, according to a statement shared on behalf of the University Libraries. A Lobo Alert informed students of police activity at Zimmerman, Centennial, Parish Libraries and George Pearl Hall at 4:34 p.m. A second alert was sent at 5:00 p.m. stating that police had cleared the area. Police notified the on-site staff at Zimmerman immediately, according to the statement. It was the only library that was open during this time, and it was closed for the remainder of the day after the evacuation.

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Student housing rates increase for next year

 The University of New Mexico’s Residence Life and Student Housing full-year contract rates are going up for the 2023-24 school year by $150 for traditional rooms and on-campus apartments, $80 and $120 for doubles and singles in suites, respectively, and $190 for apartments at Lobo Rainforest. This follows significant increases in rates over the past four years with total increases of $560 and $1,510 for doubles and singles in traditional rooms, respectively, $660 and $1,610 for doubles and singles in suites, and $1,460 for on-campus apartments, and $1,750 for Lobo Rainforest since fall 2019.

GALLERY: Sustainability Expo

UNM hosts 13th annual Sustainability Expo

 In celebration of Earth Day, the University of New Mexico held its 13th annual Sustainability Expo on Thursday, April 20. The event occurred outside the Student Union Building on Cornell Mall, where various UNM student and city organizations presented their sustainable projects, proposals and products. The Sustainability Expo had about 70 booths, both from the University and around the city. They showcased sustainability initiatives that could apply both off and on campus, according to Jessica Rowland, a lecturer in the UNM Sustainability Studies program and organizer of the Expo.

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